White On Rice Crime

What’s the best possible way for the National Football League to divert attention from the enormous tort liability risk associated with traumatic brain injury among its workforce?  It might well be to focus attention –instead– on violent off-field behavior by some of  ‘the usual suspects.’   Now, I’m not making the claim that Roger Goodell and his minions actually orchestrated the ongoing and frenzied media demonization of Ray Rice et al., nor am I suggesting that current furor over NFL-related violence against women and children is overblown or unwarranted.  Violent (or ‘merely’ coercive) oppression of women definitely has to stop right now: several millennia of gender subjugation have brought our species to where it is today … on the brink of self-extinction.  Compared to that stark fact, the rattled skulls of a few (thousand) Sunday afternoon ‘heroes’ is really just a mildly regrettable side-effect of industrial-scale entertainment that glorifies a culture of coercion and domination.  So it’s not particularly useful to spend much time musing about whether or not NFL owners might find it expedient to sacrifice their wholly-owned commissioner on the altar of (patriarchial) family values at precisely the time they’re trying to lure more women into the fanbase advertising market.

Instead, I’d prefer to steer this soliloquy away from the alluring but illusory option of binary choice.

  • traumatic brain injury (euphemized as ‘sports-related concussions‘)
  • violent oppression of women (euphemized as ‘domestic violence‘)

Why should we reflexively assume that these are discrete phenomena without examining the possibility of linkage?  At any rate, before claiming causation, let’s look for correlation … at least.  I seem to recall that DoD/DARPA/CDC research suggests war-related TBI may be associated with episodes of violence and self-harm among military veterans returning from ‘active duty.’  Perhaps other diligent researchers have already accumulated additional empirical evidence one way or the other –I haven’t checked.  If the studies are out there, now is the time to seek greater visibility for those findings.  InBev, Coca-Cola and General Motors may not particularly like the answers they find, but it’s a lot less embarrassing than deliberately choosing not to know.  Just ask Roger Goodell.

Until then, round up the usual suspects.



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